The Coracle Files (5)
At last I thought, I've got all I need to start work! .....
Then I had to pick out the two best looking laths I could find, to
make the critical fore and aft gunwale sections, the fore-section
being a bit longer than the aft.
||Putting the six legs onto the 3ft. long seat didn't tax my carpentry
skills too much. Okay, so they're not all quite at right angles, but
well, you don't notice it too much!
I added a couple of bits of 2 x 1 to the ends of the seat as well,
to help support the gunwhale, as the seat is somewhat smaller than
the size recommended by Graham Fisher.
|The seat with wonky legs and gunwale!
Then the three major lengthwise laths, picked from the 10ft. lengths,
and the first two crosswise laths (7ft.) were screwed to the protuding
legs, approximately at right angles.
|Being nice and wet from the paddling pool, they seemed to bend quite
easily, so I pulled them round into position, nailed them to the seat
ends, and then fixed the whole lot in position, with some big nails
as guides, onto a 4' x 8' sheet of tatty old chipboard. Again, this
wasn't as recommended; MDF was prescribed, but I didn't have any
and Do-It-All-Except-Coracle's prices for MDF seemed rather high
for what was supposed to be a low-cost boat.
| ||Keeping the laths wet
After inverting the whole thing and fixing the flat parts of the
floor laths to the chipboard with scrap bits, I started trying to
bend the laths up the sharpish 90 degree curve to meet the gunwale.
I knew that heat was reputed to help here, so I got out my trusty
Black & Decker Paint-Stripping-Hot-Air-Gun-Set-Fire-To-Everything-
If-You're-Not-Careful thingy, thinking that, as the wood was nice
and soggy, it would be like steaming it.
It dried the lath out in a matter of seconds, and would probably
have set fire to it if I hadn't realised the error of my ways. So,
the trusty Russell Hobbs electric kettle was pressed into DIY
service for a change. That seemed to work much better.
The long laths bent up beautifully. Clamped in place first, then
nailed with my imitation gimps, all seemed to be going quite well.
Next for the shorter side laths -
lots of hot water;
a bit more water;
bend it a bit further ....
|Oops, must have been a bit impatient. Un-nail it all, turn it over,
unscrew the laths, screw a new one back on, turn it back over again,
nail it down again, boil up another kettle, try again.
| ||The problem laths ringed: left - broken,
right - weak
B****R !!!! I thought I had the hang of this, the long ones were okay?
Try a third?
Success! Quick nail it to the gunwale while it's still in one piece.
Now for the other crosswise lath ....
This is getting boring I thought - the ash forests of Gloucestershire
are going to be well depleted by the time this little coracle's
Maybe there's a problem here somewhere? ........
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